By Rabbi Gavriel Goldfeder at

From where do we learn how to truly be free? By learning how to truly be slaves. Really!  Our servitude in Egypt, says R’ Kook, ultimately taught us how to be servants of Hashem. Same skill-set, different focus. How is this so?

When we invest deep emotion in something, even if it is not a worthwhile pursuit, we are still doing something quite positive: we are learning how to tie our emotions up in something, to be involved, committed, and embodied. When something worthwhile comes along, we already know how to put ourselves into it.

The pure quantity of energy and feeling we invest in our split, in our exile from ourselves and each other, from Hashem the Source, will ultimately serve us deeply, for it is showing us what devotion is. Devotion to the split is still devotion!  Granted, we are devoted to something destructive, but we are devoted after all.  And when our devotion is ultimately directed properly, it bears fruit.

The magic of the Seder is that the bread of affliction becomes the bread of freedom.  So amidst the rush of freedom, we acknowledge at this moment that we are still slaves.   And in so doing, we express our faith and trust that we will soon be free, and that we will 'succeed' at freedom because of our current state of slavery.

Look one level past the bite of your personal slavery and see the goodness there: see how faithful you are to your addictions, your self-image, your fears. See how passionately you hold on to them.  And imagine yourself taking all of that faith and passion and applying it to your ultimate purpose.  And then you'll see what a gift Hashem has been giving you all along, building up your power to act and commit and be faithful.

As you break the middle matzah, consider your own inner division.  How are you divided?  Why are you divided?

haggadah Section: Yachatz
Source: original